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Top Execs at Toyota’s Daihatsu Bow Out Over Safety-Test Scandal

The departures are among the most drastic changes Daihatsu has made so far after revealing last year it had rigged side-collision safety tests for 88,000 small cars

Daihatsu Motor president Soichiro Okudaira attends a news conference in Tokyo about the safety tests scandal
Daihatsu Motor president Soichiro Okudaira attends a news conference in Tokyo about the safety tests scandal. Photo: Reuters


Top executives at Toyota Motor’s compact-car unit Daihatsu will step down, weeks after the carmaker suspended all shipments due to a safety scandal investigation.

In April last year, Daihatsu said it had rigged side-collision safety tests carried out for 88,000 small cars, most of which were sold as Toyotas.

By December, however, investigators had found that the scope of the scandal was far greater and went back much further, affecting Toyota’s Mazda and Subaru brands as well.


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Toyota said on Tuesday both the president and chairman of Daihatsu will step down. The departures are among the most drastic changes Daihatsu has made so far.

Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its website, Daihatsu said it had restarted production and shipment of some cars starting Monday.

“To reform and revitalize Daihatsu, we believe that Daihatsu must return to its roots as a “mobility company centered on compact vehicles”,” the statement said.

“Also, we believe that the root of the certification irregularities was that Daihatsu placed a burden on its workplaces that exceeded their capacities,” it added.

Daihatsu is Toyota’s small-car unit and produces a number of the so-called “kei” smaller cars and trucks that are popular in Japan. The automaker accounted for 7% of Toyota’s total group sales of 11.2 million vehicles in 2023, including those of the luxury Lexus brand and Hino Motors.


An apology posted on Daihatsu's website
An apology posted on Daihatsu’s website.


Toyota says rejig ‘not punishment’

Toyota faces a potential hit to its reputation from the safety certification lapses at Daihatsu, as well as separate governance issues at truck maker Hino Motors and affiliate Toyota Industries.

Last month, the scandals at the three companies triggered a rare apology of Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda, who ended the press conference with a bow.

In a statement, Toyota said its chief executive officer for the Latin America and Caribbean region, Masahiro Inoue, will replace Soichiro Okudaira as Daihatsu’s president effective March 1.

Daihatsu’s chairman, Sunao Matsubayashi, will also step down and will not be replaced, Toyota added.

The outgoing Okudaira had worked at Toyota for nearly four decades before becoming president of Daihatsu in 2017, a year after it became a wholly owned Toyota subsidiary.

Toyota chief executive Koji Sato told reporters, however, that the organisational change at Daihatsu was not carried out as a punishment for the outgoing executives.


  • Reuters, with additional inputs from Vishakha Saxena


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Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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